11 superfoods that you can eat a lot without gaining weight. One advice often given to dietitians is to eat until they are satisfied – that is, until they feel satisfied.
The problem is that different foods can have very different effects on hunger and satiety.
For example, 200 calories from chicken breast can make you feel full, but it can take 500 calories of cake to have the same effect.
So, weight loss is not just about eating until you feel full. It’s about choosing the right foods that make you feel full for the least amount of calories.
What makes a food stuffing?
Many factors determine the value of satiety of food, or how it is related to its caloric content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index.
The satiety index also measures the ability of a food to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and decrease your calorie intake throughout the day.
Some foods simply do a better job of satisfying hunger and avoiding overeating than others.
Filling foods tend to have the following qualities:
- High volume: Studies indicate that the volume of food consumed strongly influences satiety. When a food contains too much water or air, the volume increases without adding calories.
- High Protein: Studies show that protein is more concentrated than carbohydrates and fat. Diets richer in protein increase satiety and lead to a lower total calorie intake than low-protein diets.
- High Fiber: Fiber provides volume and helps you feel satisfied. It also slows the movement of food through the digestive tract, which makes you feel more satisfied for longer.
- Low Energy Density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight. Foods with low energy density can help you feel satisfied with fewer calories.
So if you eat foods with the above characteristics then you can usually eat them up to fullness without taking in too many calories.
Here are 11 foods that you can eat a lot without gaining weight.
1. Baked Potato
Due to their high carbohydrate content, many people avoid potatoes when they try to lose weight, but they should not.
Whole potatoes are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and other important nutrients. They also contain a certain type of starch called starch resistant.
Sturdy starch contains half the calories of normal starch (2 instead of 4 calories per gram). In your digestive system, it acts much like soluble fiber, helping you to feel full.
Because adding sturdy starch to meals helps satisfy hunger, it causes people to eat fewer calories.
Interestingly, cooling the potatoes after cooking increases the resistant starch content. In fact, studies show that cooling and reheating potatoes several times continue to increase the suppressive effect of hunger.
In a study that measured the capacity of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, the boiled potatoes were the highest.
While boiled potatoes were the most satisfying food tested, the French fries were found three times less stuffed.
Baked potatoes, which are highly nutritious, are the number one satiety index. French fries are three times less stuffed and are not considered as weight loss.
2. Whole Eggs
Eggs are another food that has been unfairly demonized in the past. The truth is that eggs are incredibly healthy and rich in several important nutrients.
Most nutrients, including about half the protein of an egg, are found in the yolk.
Eggs are a complete protein, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids.
Also, they are very full.
Several studies found that people who ate eggs for breakfast were more satisfied and consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who ate a bagel for breakfast.
In particular, one study found that people who ate breakfast eggs had lower body mass index (BMI) and lost more weight than those who ate a bagel.
Eggs are a great source of nutrients, including high quality protein. They can help you eat less for up to 36 hours after a meal.
Oats are a type of porridge, or hot cereal, which is often consumed for breakfast.
It is incredibly filling and ranks third in the satiety index.
This is mainly due to its high fiber content and ability to absorb water.
Oats are a good source of a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.
When compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, oats were better at suppressing appetite, increasing satiety and reducing calorie intake throughout the day.
Oats is rich in fiber and absorbs water, which makes it incredibly filling. It is more filling than traditional breakfast cereals and can help you eat less throughout the day.
4. Broth-based soups
Liquids are considered less filled than solid foods. However, research shows that soups can be tastier than solid meals with the same ingredients.
When the soup was eaten at the start of a meal in a study, individuals consumed 20% fewer calories at that meal.
Several studies have found that eating soup routinely can reduce calorie intake, increase satiety and promote weight loss over time.
Stick to broth-based soups as they tend to be lower in calories than cream-based varieties.
Soups are very filling foods. Eating a soup at the start of a meal can increase satiety, reduce calorie intake and lead to weight loss over time.
Vegetables, such as beans, peas, and lentils, are well known to be good sources of fiber and protein. This, combined with a relatively low energy density, makes them a filler that can even promote weight loss.
A review of several studies indicates that beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are 31% more stuffed than pasta and bread.
Vegetables are high in protein and fiber, which makes them very filling. They are also relatively low in calories, which makes them a food friendly for weight loss.
Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. Several studies indicate that eating fruit is associated with lower caloric intake and may contribute to weight loss over time.
In particular, apples score very high on the satiety index. As apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally slows down digestion, they help to feel satisfied.
They also have over 85% water, which provides volume and enhances satiety without adding calories.
It is important to note that whole, solid fruits increase satiety more than fruits or pure juices, which are not particularly stuffed.
One study looked at the effects of eating solid segments of apple, apple sauce or apple juice at the start of a meal.
It was found that those who consumed solid apple segments consumed 91 fewer calories than those who ate apple sauce and 150 fewer calories than those who drank apple juice.
Eating apple segments also resulted in higher indices of fullness and lower hunger index than other forms of fruit.
Apples are rich in water and soluble fiber, but low in calories. Eating whole and solid apples can help you consume fewer calories and contribute to weight loss over time.
7. Citrus fruits
Like apples, citrus fruits are rich in pectin, which can slow digestion and increase satiety.
They also have high water content. Both oranges and grapefruit contain more than 87% water, which means they are able to fill it for very few calories.
It has often been suggested that eating grapefruit can promote weight loss. In one study, obese participants who ate citrus fruits lost significantly more weight than those who received a placebo.
In another study, eating half a grapefruit three times a day during meals for six weeks was associated with modest weight loss and a significant reduction in waist circumference.
When combined with caloric restriction, consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals resulted in a 7.1% weight loss, a significant reduction in body fat and weight circumference.
However, these results may not be unique to grapefruit, since pre-meal water intake had similar effects.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits are also weight loss friendly foods. They are rich in fiber and water, which can help you feel full and consume fewer calories.
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids may increase satiety in overweight or obese people. They are also loaded with high-quality protein which is known to be very stuffed.
In fact, fish have higher scores than all other protein-rich foods in the satiety index and rank second among all tested foods.
One study found that the effect of fish on satiety was significantly greater than that of chicken and beef.
Another study found that participants who consumed fish consumed 11 percent fewer calories in their next meal than those who ate beef.
Fish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can increase satiety. Fish may also be more stuffed than other types of protein, such as chicken and beef.
9. Lean Meat
Lean meats are high in protein and very filling. In fact, diets with higher protein content lead to a lower total caloric intake than low-protein diets.
One study found that people eat 12% less at dinner after eating high-protein meat at lunch compared to those who had a high-carbohydrate lunch.
Beef got the second-highest of all protein-rich foods at the satiety index, but other meats, such as chicken and pork, are also weight-loss friendly.
Acarne is rich in protein and very filling. Eating lean meat rich in protein can help you consume fewer calories in subsequent meals.
10. Cottage cheese
Cheese cottage is low in calories but very high in protein. It is also packed with healthy nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium.
These characteristics make cottage cheese a food-friendly for weight loss. One study found that its effect in fullness is similar to that of eggs.
Cotage cheese is high in protein and low in calories. Its effect on satiety may be comparable to that of eggs.
Vegetables are low in calories and high in volume. They are also packed with all kinds of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds that make them an important part of a healthy diet.
In addition, they are rich in water and fiber, and both help to fill it. Research shows that salads in particular help to satisfy hunger, especially when consumed before a meal.
In one study, participants who ate a salad at the beginning of the meal consumed 7 to 12% fewer calories in the meal.